Augusto Soledade has new artists in his company. It is a bit questionable as to what the performance will reveal with new faces, different dancers and “types,” especially in reviving choreography that was created on a particular group of dancers. Yet, it often gives an opportunity to see the choreography with fresh eyes and to see what a different artist will bring to a piece that might inspire another viewing perspective. It is why seeing alternative casts in the same role allow audience members to see variety and indeed, to find preferences. Dancers work together and move together. It takes time and many rehearsal hours to, not only deliver the choreography, but to deliver it with the seamless quality that only comes when each body moves cohesively with the other and innately knows the physical movement timing. As an audience member, if one doesn’t see the work involved with movement, then the job has been well done.
Augusto Soledade Brazzdance's performance at the black box Carnival Theater in the Arsht Center on Saturday, March 31, included four new artists in his roster of six, and seemed to grow even stronger with the new additions. Time had been spent to make the group cohesive as dancers and as artists.
The opening piece, “Shades,” formerly seen at the Gleason Room on Miami Beach, not only was an opportunity to see the new dancers, but was the first time to watch this work in a larger space with more technical ability. It worked very well as a cabaret piece in the intimate space of the Gleason, but the Carnival space allowed for larger movement and more theatricality. “Shades” exposed a life journey that began with stillness and birth, almost to the point of being uncomfortable, that evolved to life experiences. There were signature elements of voguing throughout the piece, a complex use of choreography with chairs, torment and resolve and, ultimately, the idea that we are all human and different. New members, Kassi Abreu and Lucia Rodriguez did solos that gave a whole new perspective to the work in commitment and an inner determination. Rodriguez is a tall, powerful dynamo, who is expansive in her quality and never subtle in her moves. She seemed to eat up the stage. Abreu is dramatic, earthy and rich. Flanked by newbies, Grace Bishop and Reshma Anwar and the veteran , stalwart dancers, Bruno Jacques-Louis and Amanda Ruiz, the group seemed infused with enthusiasm and energy.
Soledede’s signature, Afro-fusion vocabulary was more prevalent in the whimsical “Think Blue,” inspired by the book, “Why The Sky Is Far Away-A Nigerian Tale.” using shaky knees, quirky shoulder and hip walks, and a Soledade heel step that was done standing as well as on the floor. In this repeat performance, Jacques-Louis seemed at home and free in his role, especially when he was wearing all white. Rodriguez didn’t miss a beat in the playful frenzy of her balloon dance, even when the balloons seemed to have a mind of their own. It often added another layer as she became enveloped in the random explosion of mylar.
Jazzy and playful was the mood of “Some Things Revealed” as the entire group performed their third and closing work. The conscious use of music against decisive stillness gave texture and vibrancy to this collection of duets, solos and ensemble pieces.
The show proved that Brazzdance continues to evolve in its artistry and choeography.